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FEBRUARY 18, 2018 - #049
WHEN ASHLEY L. EVANS ISN’T CRAFTING BRANDING AND DESIGN, SHE’S RUNNING ONE OF THE COOLEST SHOWS DOWNTOWN NASHVILLE HAS TO OFFER
NASHVILLE SINCE 2011
If you’ve ever been to Nashville, chances are your first stop was to check out the bars and honky tonks on lower Broadway. The strip that earns Music City its nickname NashVegas is replete with flashing neon, cold beer, and its calling card: incredible live music.
Ashley L. Evans was working in Chicago as a photographer for the Cubs and doing design, booking, and branding work when she met Lee and Lewis Brice at a game. They encouraged her to come to Nashville. “I was only going to stay for six months, because they promised me there was no snow here,” she laughs. “Then six months later I decided to stay. I love the Cubs but I just felt like I was really doing cool things with the people I was meeting in Nashville and actually booking original shows and making bands fans.”
One thing that stuck out to her was the enormity of cover bands and cover shows on Broadway. “I started realizing that I had all these friends that played on Broadway and no one was playing originals except maybe one per hour,” she says.
“I was like, you’re making these fans from around the world but they’re only falling in love with you as a cover band. How do we get out of that?”
With that, Spotlight 615 was born. Tin Roof Broadway was the only bar downtown with two stages on one floor, which was perfect for what Ashley had in mind. She created a night of music that was strictly for bands to play their own music – no covers and no downtime. “When one band’s playing, the other is setting up,” she says. “We’re four and a half hours, eight or nine acts per night, playing 30 to 45 minute all original sets.”
It’s important to Ashley to make a difference in peoples’ lives; not just the bands who get to play for free and share their original songs with the massive Broadway audiences, but in a charitable way as well. Spotlight 615 partners with St. Jude and the radio station Big 98, and Team Big 98 collects money at the events to benefit St. Jude.
The result is important both for bands playing the stage, sharing a rare opportunity to play original music to the throngs of crowds visiting from all over the world, and for the diversity of the offerings on lower Broadway.
“I like the giving aspect of that,” she says. “Then we give towards bands with helping cover sound, lights, production, all of those things. We give them a stage to play, and it doesn’t cost them anything to go play.”
Catch a show for yourself at Tin Roof Broadway, and check out their website.